Pacific Community - SPC



Job Type


Closing Date

2nd Oct 2019

— Description —

The Pacific Community (SPC) invites applications for the position of Associate Scientist - Coconut Genetic Resources located at its regional office in Suva, Fiji.



The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 26 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our organisation works across more than 20 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.


The Land Resources Division (LRD) provides advice, technical assistance, research and training support to Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) on all aspects of agriculture and forestry. This includes plant protection, conservation, plant genetic resources, animal health and production, agroforestry, biosecurity and trade facilitation, and sustainable systems for agriculture, forestry and land management. This work has two objectives: improved food and nutritional security, and resilient communities. The division’s services are provided through seven technical/thematic teams: Animal Health and Production; Plant Health; Biosecurity and Trade Facilitation; Forest and Agriculture Diversification; Crop Production and Extension; Genetic Resources; and Forests and Trees.


The role – Associate Scientist - Coconut Genetic Resources will lead the development and coordination of coconut genetic resources projects and activities within the Genetic Resources pillar and support the integration of these programs and activities across other LRD pillars. This role will provide key scientific and technical expertise to guide and support activities on the strategy for coconut genetic resources conservation and use primarily in the Pacific region linking to global partnerships.


The key responsibilities of the role include:

  • Program Development and Coordination
  • Scientific and Technical Advise & support
  • Project Implementation and coordination
  • Research and development


For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the job description provided.


Key selection criteria



  • Master’s in Science with a specialisation in a relevant field such as biology or agronomy


Knowledge and experience

  • At least 8 years of experience in a relevant scientific field  
  • Working knowledge of the coconut genetic resources conservation and use in the Pacific region
  • Knowledge and awareness of important global and regional partners working on coconuts
  • Experience with experimental project designs and procedures, including the analysis and interpretation of research results     


Essential skills

  • Ability to collaborate, communicate and negotiate effectively with stakeholders
  • Solutions-focused problem solving skills
  • Research and analytical skills, including in-depth knowledge of the agriculture sector
  • Report writing, planning and organising skills with a meticulous attention to detail
  • Advocacy skills, including initiative to think laterally to identify innovative solutions


Language skills

  • Excellent English communication skills (oral and written) with a working knowledge of French being an advantage


Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Ability to work in a multicultural, inclusive and equitable environment


Salary, terms and conditions


Contract Duration – Three years


Remuneration – The Associate Scientist - Coconut Genetic Resources is a Band 10 position in SPC’s 2019 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 2,451‒3,063 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately FJD 7,229–9,037 (USD 3,480–4,350; EUR 2,934–3,667). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will normally be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration given to experience and qualifications.Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. Remuneration of expatriate SPC staff members is not subject to income tax in Fiji; Fiji nationals employed by SPC in Fiji will be subject to income tax.


Benefits for international employees based in Fiji – SPC provides a housing allowance of FJD 1,230–2,750 per month. Establishment and relocation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave, medical and life insurance and education allowances are available for eligible employees and their recognised dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and 30 days of sick leave per annum, and access to SPC’s Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).


Languages – SPC’s working languages are English and French.


Equal opportunity – SPC is an equal opportunity employer. Recruitment is based entirely on merit; in cases where two short-listed candidates are judged to be of equal rank by the selection committee, preference will be given to Pacific Island nationals.


Child protection – SPC is committed to child protection, irrespective of whether any specific area of work involves direct contact with children. SPC’s Child Protection Policy is written in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Police clearance – Successful candidates will be required to provide a police clearance certificate.


Application procedure


Closing Date – 2 October 2019


Applicants must apply online at http://careers.spc.int/


Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.


For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:


  • an updated resume
  • contact details for three professional referees
  • a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
  • responses to all screening questions


Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.


Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference. These documents may be requested at a later stage.


For international staff in Fiji, only one foreign national per family can be employed with an entity operating in Fiji at any one given time. The Pacific Community does not support dual spouse employment.


Please ensure that you respond to all the screening questions.  If you do not respond to the screening questions, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage.


Screening Questions:

  1. Coconut is considered to be the “Tree of Life” in the Pacific region. Please explain what is meant by this within the context of coconut-based livelihood systems.
  2. What would be the most challenging issue in regards to the implementation of a cost-effective coconut conservation and utilisation strategy?
  3. Please share your experience in resource mobilisation and the development of projects.